Forget playing small ball, at least for one night. The Orioles muscled up against the Mariners, getting solo home runs from Kevin Millar in the fifth inning and Ramon Hernandez in the sixth, and a two-run shot from Melvin Mora in the seventh. Millar broke a 2-2 tie when he connected off Mariners starter Jarrod Washburn. Hernandez homered off reliever Cha Seung Baek, and Mora increased the lead to 6-2 when he cleared the left-field fence against Ryan Rowland-Smith.
The Orioles forced Washburn to throw 38 pitches in the second inning. Though they scored only once, on a sacrifice fly by Luis Hernandez, they shortened his night by leaving his count at 58 heading into the third. Hernandez ran the count full before lifting a fly ball to center field that scored Jay Payton, who led off by reaching on an infield hit, and Brian Roberts did the same before drawing a walk. The Orioles sent six batters to the plate. It must have felt like more to Washburn, who was gone after the fifth.
Luis Hernandez wasn't in Thursday's original lineup before the game was postponed because of rain. He started last night and delivered the Orioles' first two runs with sacrifice flies. He tied the game, 2-2, in the fourth when he drove in Ramon Hernandez, who singled and took third base on Adam Jones' double. Luis Hernandez also made a nice sliding stop of Jose Lopez's grounder in the hole, but couldn't throw him out. The next batter, Raul Ibanez, grounded to second, and Hernandez ignored Lopez's hard slide to turn the double play.
Game 2 of this four-game series takes place tonight with left-hander Adam Loewen opposing Miguel Batista. Loewen made his major league debut at Safeco Field on May 23, 2006, and retired only one of four batters he faced in relief. The Orioles rushed him from Double-A Bowie because Hayden Penn underwent an emergency appendectomy. The circumstances are much different tonight, but not exactly ideal. Loewen is making his first regular-season start since May 1 after undergoing elbow surgery. Batista is 0-3 with a 7.86 ERA in 17 career games against the Orioles, including three starts. He picked up the save Wednesday in Seattle's 4-1 win over the Texas Rangers.